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What is diet culture?

Nowadays, it may seem like everyone is anti-diet. But what does that even mean?


acceptable v not acceptable scale

Image credit: The McGill Daily

Diet culture, to me, is:

  • The belief that our value and worth is tied to our clothing size and body shape and that we can only be healthy if we are “skinny”
  • The social acceptability of restricting what we consume
  • The peer pressure to always lose weight and be thinner
  • The list of strict rules that don’t even make sense (insert: “don’t eat anything white”)
  • The labeling of foods as “good” and “bad” as though food has morality 
  • The perpetuation of negative self-talk 
  • The feelings of guilt and shame one feels after eating a certain food, because it isn’t in line with said diet rules  
  • The accumulation of various diets that are not based in evidence (insert: “cabbage soup diet”)
  • The oppression of people who don’t fit these arbitrary standards – whether that means they have curves or a more muscular build 

To clarify, I am anti-diet culture, not necessarily anti-diet. What’s the difference, you ask? I believe we can use nutrition to improve our health. I believe we can limit certain foods that cause digestive distress (aka those foods that cause you to feel uncomfortable and bloated). I believe that we can use nutrition to alleviate some of the symptoms of certain diseases. What I don’t believe in is the fad diets, the ones not rooted in science that solely exist to perpetuate a yoyo dieting cycle of weight loss and regain. That never make you feel better, only mentally and physically worse. 


At Defy Nutrition, our slogan is Defy the rules. Defy yesterday’s you. 

Will you join us in defying the diet rules? 

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